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Postcard from Kenya: "I don't know what we will eat tonight"

25 April 2013

Postcard from Kenya:

By Rachel Beckett

A few weeks ago I returned to the Kitui district of central Kenya  – an area blighted by frequent droughts and extreme poverty. It was there that I met Elizabeth and Willi. Elizabeth being a member of the Muuwo farmers’ group, which at that time were hopeful of being selected to participate in a new Farm Africa project being set up in the area.

After a busy day bumping along dusty tracks and down dried-up river beds, it was late afternoon when I interviewed the family and heard their story.

Elizabeth and Willi showed me around their plot of land, showing me their crops, their few livestock, their mud home and the small mud shelter they use as a kitchen. Whilst in the kitchen, I asked Elizabeth what the family were having for dinner.

“I don’t know what we will eat tonight” she replied. Hearing this was heart wrenching. And knowing that the same conversation could be repeated at almost any house in the village made the situation even harder to accept.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Muuwo Group were selected to join the Farm Africa project. And when I returned last month, their hard work and dedication to succeed was evident. Hope had replaced despair. With the rains soon to arrive, farmers were ready to plant high-quality seeds for drought-tolerant varieties of grains and pulses using new farming techniques they have learnt from Farm Africa.

Picture of women singing and dancingIt was a Tuesday when I returned, that being the day Elizabeth and her fellow farmers meet to tend to their group vegetable farm together (we are working with them to build a well to provide the water they need to make it a real success). As we approached down the hillside I could hear singing and see dancing – the sound of a community inspired and hopeful for the future. They had heard there was a visitor from Farm Africa and they were singing and dancing to show their appreciation and thanks.

I left Willi and Elizabeth, this time, with a sense their life would improve and their children would be well fed. And with a knowledge that Farm Africa, together with our supporters, had made this happen.

More about our work helping farmers cope with drought

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- Rachel is our head of direct marketing